Sunday, August 31, 2008

All cleaned up

We spend most days at the building site dirty and sweaty, but every once in a while we take off the ball cap, dig way back in the closet for some other clothes, and get all cleaned up.

Hanging out

Taking a break with Grandpa Kiker who came to help out today. And the big 5-year old lost his first tooth!

Finishing touches on the roof

We finished the bottom row of screws and the last bit of ridge cap on the roof today. We're readying for a visit from the inspector in the next week or so.

Scaling the slippery roof was assisted by a climbing harness with a rope attached to the car hitch and flung over the house.

Hurricane season is a tense time, but storms brewing brought cool breezes and cloud cover to the building site. What a relief from the sweltering days of recent memory.

Building walls

Putting up the wall between the bathroom and the living room. The bathroom ceiling is done, and the vent pipe awaits boxing in.

Plumbing the Tub - August 2008

The tub is here. It's a basic acrylic 6 foot soaking tub. We have big plans for splashing bath play and massive bubbles with a grand view out the window.

The plumbers were here this week connecting everything up. Now all we need are a few walls, some tile, and alotta bubble bath.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Working on the bathroom ceiling

We're still framing interior walls. When the bathroom ceiling is completed, the electricians can wire the interior.

Pop Kiker had hand surgery today, so the young'uns were holding down the fort.

Tropical Storm Fay

The weather radio was on today, providing updates on the progress of Tropical Storm Fay and the possibility of spontaneous tornadoes. Lots of rain and strong breezes, but nothing dangerous.

We enjoyed a visit from our dear friends who braved the inclement weather.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Testing some lighting options

We're testing lighting options. If we finish the bedroom ceilings with a ledge (instead of continuing the tongue and groove horizontally across), we can make use of indirect lighting.

Here is a photo of the test situation, with lights in the first two bays only. We would put lights in every bay if this is the route we go.

On a positive note, the light could look like a sunlight from a skylight coming in from above. On a down note, it could look like we didn't bother to finish the ceiling. Pondering....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lighting strike gets expensive

That lightning strike keeps soaking us. We had someone take down the two gigantic long-leaf pines that were struck last month. We'll chain-saw mill the wood on the ground. We'll also spray the surrounding pines with bark-beetle insecticide; we can hear the hungry larvae working their composting magic on the felled trees.

Bleaching stains

We've been bleaching stains in the tongue and groove. One stack of wood got damp under a sun-scorched tarp, the moisture penetration escaping our attention for some weeks. When noticed, we immediately re-stacked the wood with spacers in between planks, but as the wood dried, the spacers left moldy, stained places. Bleach seems to be doing the trick.

The low-tech wedge

Our good friend, Henry, taught us to use this low-tech wedge, which has been useful whenever installing tongue and groove that is warped or wrangling. Henry learned use of this wedge while working with his father in Trinidad. He generously passed on the island tradition to us.


The boys are excited that the ceiling on the bedrooms creates a play loft for small people.

Ceilings - more tongue and groove

We got the ceiling on the bedrooms. All interior walls and ceilings are wood. This house is designed to require few specialized skills and to use enduring materials; thus, no drywall is required and tongue and groove is everywhere.

Interior bedroom wall

We're building the wall that separates the bedrooms. Unfortunately, working on this wall wounded the super-duper Granddad Kiker who cut his hand in the saw. He is scheduled for surgery to repair tendons and nerves.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tongue and groove on interior wall

The first interior wall got some tongue and groove this afternoon. It was a big event.

The wall separating the living area from one of the bedrooms is going up.

More interior framing - August 2008

The bedroom and bathroom walls are framed. The two closets flanking a built-in desk are in place. We've chosen to build these closets at a 7' height, hoping that they will not steal views of the cupola, doing our best to preserve the interior aesthetic.

Sitting in the future kitchen pantry.

Planning interior spaces

We're busy planning interior spaces. Today Grandma Brown sketched the bedroom closets. Grandpa Brown is planning the trap door access from the boys bedroom to the loft, inclusive of a ladder and a fireman's pole.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cooling off in St Augustine

We took a short break to cool off at the Atlantic coast in St Augustine. The waves were great for boogie boarding.

The sand, shells and pebbles are delicious to the 1-year old.

At Castillo de San Marcos in the old city,
they fire the cannons in a reenactment.

The boys said, "What did we used to do on the weekend before we started building the house? Did we go sailing and take trips to the beach?"

Yeah, the good old days!

Framing interior walls

We now turn our attention to framing the interior walls in preparation for the electrical rough-in. Since the interior walls are not load bearing, the options are many regarding wall placement and dimensions.

Framing of bedroom walls begins.
Working in the shade is a big improvement.